Firemen discuss hot topics

Tower, ambulance cost addressed at convention

May 22, 2000|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association vowed Saturday at its 77th annual convention to assist the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Company in correcting a communications problem that the station feels has for too long been neglected by the county.

Firefighters and emergency workers fear someone may be injured or worse because of an inability to communicate properly by radio in the low-lying valley area. A letter from the Lineboro station to the Carroll County commissioners offering assistance in locating a proper site and engineering to establish a communications tower with an antenna was read at the convention."We will pursue this," Lineboro President John Warner told the association. "There's three-quarters of a million dollars set aside for this and we want to know where it is and have the problem remedied."

The group voted to send a letter from the association to the commissioners to solve the problem as soon as possible.

The 58th annual convention of the Ladies Auxiliary also met at the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1 station, where the firefighters had their convention.

The firefighters honored three new Hall of Fame inductees and presented three citizen safety awards, including one to a 4-year-old boy who came to the aid of his grandfather after a tractor accident.

Bill Eyler, allocations and budget committee chairman, told the association that the county had allowed only a 3 percent increase in its budget request this year. He promised the firefighters that "we will not let the health and wellness program fail" due to a shortfall in funding.

Ambulance billing committee chairwoman Susan Mott reported that her committee is still working on attaining its 1999 goals of having all ambulance companies bill for calls, charging the same amount for those calls, and using the same third-party billing company.

Of the 13 ambulance companies in the county (Harney does not have an ambulance), 12 are charging the established minimum of $200 and 11 are using the same billing company.

Reese and Community Volunteer Fire Company voted in February 1999 not to charge for ambulance service, partly fearing a loss of tax-exempt status. When threatened with the loss of county ambulance funding this year if they did not bill residents, Reese began charging $5 per call.

Reese also requested from the county a private letter ruling from the IRS stating that its tax-exempt status would not be affected by billing for its services. Such a ruling would cost $2,500, and the county commissioners decided there was no need for such a letter. The May 10 letter from the commissioners was read to address the concerns of other companies in a similar position.

Several years ago, the association began giving citizen safety awards to residents who responded safely and properly to an emergency .

This year's recipients were:Cody Schoeffield, 4, who helped his grandfather, Michael Schoeffield, when his tractor overturned while he worked on his farm in the Lineboro area last October. The boy called 911 and held a portable phone to his grandfather's ear so the farmer could tell dispatchers what had happened.Glen Leppo and Jim Masimore provided aid to Brian Muska last August after Muska hit his head diving into a pool and was temporarily paralyzed. Leppo and Masimore jumped into the pool, brought Muska to the surface and made sure he had an open airway until emergency personnel could respond.

The association also inducted three new members into its hall of fame:MarionF. Kaltrider, a posthumous inductee and the first from Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department. Kaltrider was a member of Lineboro for more than 50 years until his death in January 1996. Through the years, he served as company president, vice president, on numerous committees, was an engine driver and was county association president in 1953.E. Ray Wilson from Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Company. A member of the company since 1945, he has served in several administrative capacities and still helps with fund-raisers. One of his biggest accomplishments was establishing Union Bridge's Junior Fire Department in 1963 and working with the youth department until 1989, when he retired as program chairman.William E. Kreimer from New Windsor Fire & Hose Company No. 1. A member for almost 40 years, he has served in every aspect of the fire company, including holding many offices. He helped get ambulance service started and has been active in fire prevention programs, as well as being an equipment driver for more than 20 years.

The firefighters and auxiliary members also installed new officers for 2000-2001.

The new Firefighters Association officers are: John Korman, Hampstead, president; Malcolm Helwig, Manchester, first vice president; Doug Bostian, Union Bridge, second vice president; Ralph Dull, Manchester, secretary; and Joe Hess, Reese, treasurer.

The new Ladies Auxiliary officers are: Helen Korman, Hampstead, president; Linda Black, Manchester, first vice president; Yvonne Stultz, Union Bridge, second vice president; Janet Parrish, Taneytown, secretary; Mary Jo Lilly, Lineboro, treasurer; Sharon Sidler, Mount Airy, historian; and Jeannie Green, Gamber, chaplain.

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